Victorian Volcanic Plains Conservation Management Network

Protecting grassland, seasonal wetlands, grassy woodlands & other ecosystems on the Victorian Volcanic Plains

We All Stand on Sacred Land: Learn, Respect, Celebrate

This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week (5-12 July) highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ strong spiritual and cultural connection to land and sea. The theme is an opportunity to pay respects to country; honour those who work tirelessly on preserving land, sea and culture and to share the stories of many sites of significance or sacred places with the nation.

As the oldest continuing culture on the planet, the living culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is intrinsically linked with these sacred places. Sacred places can be geographic feature like a river or lake, a beach, bays, inlets, hills or a mountain ranges or ceremonial grounds, galleries of rock art or engravings or places used for gathering for cultural practices.

Long before European arrival, these places had traditional names – names that now reflect the timeless relationship between the people and the land. Often sacred places are connected with Dreaming stories or tell of the meaning of an area.

This year’s theme was also chosen specifically to highlight and celebrate the  anniversary of the ‘Handback’ of Uluru, one of these sacred sites, to its traditional owners on 26 October 30 years ago.

The National NAIDOC Committee encourages all Australians – young and old – to embrace the 2015 National NAIDOC theme. This information has been taken from the NAIDOC website.

Welcome to Country

Last week at the VVP Research and Development Forum Uncle Bryon from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Corporation gave a very moving Welcome to Country. He encouraged us to turn around and take a closer look at the representation of a Victorian Volcanic Plains panorama, that was behind us on a series of posters, the Volcano Dreaming. Bryon took time to point out various aspects of the scene and said it “was not just country, it was ancestors’ country”.

Cherry Ballart

Cherry Ballart or Native Cherry – Exocarpus cupressiformis

The waterhole and cave system is like a supermarket, where people gathered, camped and lived. Basalt is an indication that we are in Bunjil’s country. The You Yangs where the spirits rested. Bryon has just returned from Cape York where he and some others from the Corangamite CMA area attended a workshop learning to burn country with the local elders.Bryon has come back with a “passion to restore grasslands”.

“Everyone is responsible to care for country”. He reminded us to ‘step lightly’ and presented a small branch of Cherry Ballart to Poly Matthews, CCMA, who accepted it on behalf of all the forum attendees. Cherry Ballart is used in ceremonies and as a food and medicine.

Do you follow best practice?

Eurambeen Streatham Road

Eurambeen Streatham Road

Here is the last of the presentations from the VVP Linear Reserves Workshop held in May. John Morgan from La Trobe University has 25 years’ experience in researching grasslands and other ecosystems and spoke about how we don’t always see the decline in grasslands as it occurs incrementally from multiple degrading influences many of which we can control.

John presented what he calls “a primer on linear reserve management”. If the reserve has a range of native flora and very few weeds then keep doing what you are doing. The slides in this presentation are from John’s presentation and I have added the words from my notes.

Best practice on linear reserves May 2015

Lake Burrumbeet: managing for the future

A draft management statement for Lake Burrumbeet, identifying the uses, values, issues and management actions, has been released for public comment. Lake Burrumbeet is a large shallow lake located 20km west of Ballarat and is visible from the Western Highway.

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The lake reserve supports a number of popular recreational activities, including boating, skiing, bird watching, picnicking, dog walking, hunting and fishing. It covers a large area with the lake and adjoining shoreline reserve making up 2607ha. It is Crown land permanently reserved for public park and recreation under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978.

Lake Burrumbeet also provides habitat for the Growling Grass Frog and the Golden Sun Moth, and is a breeding and roosting site for wetland birds. The area contains endangered plains  grassland, grassy woodland and sedgy wetland and has significant hollow bearing remnant River Red Gums.
Prior to European settlement the area was used by a local clan of the Wadawurrung people. The name Burrumbeet comes from a local aboriginal word meaning ‘muddy water’. The area was a reliable source of plant and animal food, including eels. The area has a number of sites of Aboriginal cultural significance.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the City of Ballarat will co-manage Lake Burrumbeet Reserve to balance public use of the lake and the protection of its environmental features. Copies of the plan are available from the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186. The draft management statement is available for review, for 30 days from 15 June to 15 July 2015.

Small Grants Available for Gorse Projects

Gorse Flowers

Gorse Flowers

Here is an opportunity to work with your local landcare or other environment group to do some gorse control. Make sure you check the guidelines to see if a project is possible for your area.

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) with the support of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is seeking project proposals from community-based organisations. The VGT will consider funding projects that can demonstrate delivery of the goals of the Victorian Gorse Control Strategy (VGCS) and a community-led commitment to long-term gorse control.

The small grants program in 2015/16 may provide up to $5,000 (GST exclusive) to support community-led projects.

A brief journey through the FFG Act

This presentation is another one from the recent VVP Linear Reserves Workshop held for contractors and others who need to know about this values of grasslands and aspects of the relevant legislation. It also includes information about the guidelines on translocation of threatened species. Here is the link cma-ffg-training_slide-notes_May-2015.pdf

The threatened vegetation communities listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988), have been matched to one or more Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs), and the bioregions in which they occur see the Biodiversity Interactive Mapping System. Remember that the mapping only provides an indication of what may be seen on the ground and decisions should not be made without a site visit and preferably at different times of the year. Here is the link to the protected flora controls.




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